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Master and Slave Ideal Configuration (Perfect Set Up)
Last post Thu, Oct 25 2018 by GrapeBrotherhood, 30 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Jun 07 2016 19:50
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Hello friends,

I was blessed with a real good gig few months ago and I am building my computers from scratch as a result.
I wanted to pass these configurations by you all to hear some of your opinions on it, perhaps.
I would greatly appreciate if you gave me some input on these builds. :)

MASTER COMPUTER

-Intel Xeon E5-2687W V4 12-Cores 3.0Ghz
-ASRock X99 WS-E / 10G (2x 10Gbits ethernet ports)
-64GB Crucial ECC-Registered DDR4 RAM 2133Mhz
-(OS Drive) Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD
-(Libraries Drives) x2 Intel 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe NVMe SSD RAID 0
-(Libraries Drives) x2 Intel 750 Series 800GB PCIe NVMe SSD RAID 0
-(Libraries Drives) x4 Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD
-(Add Drive) Samsung 850 EVO 120GB SSD
-Windows 8.1 Pro ( maybe Windows 10 Pro)
-Cubase 8.5 Pro, Nuendo 7, Pro Tools 12 (For VEP 5 hosting and stems printing)

x4 SLAVES COMPUTERs

-Intel Xeon E5-2620 V4 8-Cores 2.1Ghz
-ASRock X99 WS-E / 10G (2x 10Gbits ethernet ports)
-64GB Crucial ECC-Registered DDR4 RAM 2133Mhz
-(OS Drive) Samsung 850 EVO 120GB SSD
-(Libraries Drives) x6 Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD
-Windows 8.1 Pro
-VEP 5

Any thoughts, recommendations or critics?

Thanks folks.

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Tue, Jun 07 2016 20:22
by Bill
Joined on Fri, Sep 23 2005, Berkshires. MA USA, Posts 895

I guess that was a real good gig...

Finale 25, Sibelius 2018, Notion 6, Overture 5, Cubase 10.0.2
Win10 x64, 32GB RAM; Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
Kontakt, Bunch of VSL, VIP, VEP, EWQL Orch, Choir and Pianos
August Forster 190
Posted on Wed, Jun 08 2016 02:19
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5322

I would suggest using maximum RAM and CPU power for the slave, rather than the master computer. The reason is it is far more taxing to any system to play large amounts of sample instruments than to program MIDI or record/process audio.  Also, if the slave is doing MIR which it should be for VSL,  that is a huge amount of processing that one would want a large amount of CPU applied to.   

Posted on Wed, Jun 08 2016 11:55
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Thanks Bill, yes it was a VERY GOOD ONE.

I'm scoring for a full featured within the next months or so.

I was very lucky.

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Wed, Jun 08 2016 12:04
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Okay, William,

So you suggest more ram and more powerful processor on the slave machines?

Also, would MIR (which I am definitely getting) be installed on the slave machine or onto the main machine?

Thanks

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Wed, Jun 08 2016 19:23
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5322

I just meant whatever is spent for maximizing CPU and RAM is best spent on the slave machines.  MIR is on the slaves since the intruments play directly within it.  You can route external audio through MIR but normally the VSL instruments are placed directly inside the MIR environment.

Posted on Thu, Jun 09 2016 12:42
by Synetos
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, USA, Posts 102

From the research I have been doing, talking to DAW builders, etc., it seems Xeon is not the best option for DAW. I was all set to move to a dual v4 xeon systems, and that appears not to be the best performance. Realtime performance seems to be more important than overall CPU muscle. Cant OC the xeon rig like an i7 system

As a result, I am building my systems with the new Broadwell E i7 6950x (10core), SSD's and 128GB ram on the new Asus X99-Deluxe II boards. Two of these systems will provide better performance than even a dual xeon, for about the same money. I have all the parts coming for the first one this week, so i will be able to comment more accurately in a week or so.

I do not run MIR, so maybe that makes a difference? Does MIR need healthy realtime power over overall CPU muscle, or is eveything you are doing VST and you can manage realtime performance with a larger buffer setting?

For my workflow, I would challenge the idea regarding Master computer not needing as much power as a VL slave...at least for my setup. I use Waves Mercury plugins on my main DAW, and they need plenty of realtime CPU power. My workflow is much more about layering, than a full mockup that I want to playback though MIR all together and tracking analog output alone on my main DAW.. So, the right answer probably has more to do with your workflow.

I also found it really helpful to spend a fair amount of time using LatencyMon and some CPU Affinity parameters on my old system. Removing the CPU sucking drivers and unneeded bloat went a long way toward doubling the realtime performance on my old i7 3930x rig...which will now be added to my VL slave farm.

Anyway, congrats on the project and the ability to reinvest in your future rig.

DAW = Cubase Pro 9.5 & WaveLab 9.5
VEP Master = Windows 10 Pro - i7-5960x - 64GB Ram
VEP Slave = Windows 10 Pro - i7-6950x - 128GB Ram
Dell P4317Q & UP3216Q 4K monitors
Audio Interfaces = DigiGrid IOXs
Posted on Thu, Jun 09 2016 13:53
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Very interesting William.

I am a novice at this still so forgive my continuous questions.

One more coming though!

Do all my slaves Machines have to have MIR installed on them? So like, is MIR going to be installed along with the VEP 5 on EACH Slave Machine?

Thank you in advance

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Thu, Jun 09 2016 14:07
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Synetos,
Very Interesting point.

However allow me to give you my 2 cents. I will absolutely agree on the "kind of workflow you do" part. However, if what your point is true (that Xeon are actually worse than Broadwel E chips) it'd be nonsensical that all the big names and big professional rigs use all Xeon processors, both Macs and Windows PCs Workstation and Server class. For instance, I know for a fact that at Remote Control (Hans Zimmer company) The servers they use are all stacks of dual Xeons computers connected by fiber optics. They main machines, I am not sure, but if you have ALL your libraries on slaves, then your main computer needs simply the power to run your DAW and the features thereon, which are not demanding tasks at all, in you think about.

You see I work pretty much doing only mock-ups and scoring composition. I don't do tracking, I don't do live recording, except when I have a live instrumentalist in the studio and we capture some of it's ideas for the score, but then we go to the recording stage and record him properly. So My rig is ALL about mock-up, and for the size of my template (about 1200 tracks, not including the 5.1 and FX tracks) it's all about those 2 more cores and 4 more threads, because large templates are more multi-task demanding than high speed.

That's why I put the Broadwell-EP 12-Cores 3.0Ghz (which by the way is the same base clock speed of the Broadwell-E 10-Cores) in the main machine. I was quite confident that 3.0Ghz is fast enough for running Cubase 8.5 Pro and the synths I'm going to need to run from the main machine.

But maybe not, maybe I am indeed mistaken and I am totally open to be proved wrong on this. So I welcome any additional comment and reasoning, after all I don't want to drop stacks on a system that is not what I payed for, if you catch my groove.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

peace.

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Thu, Jun 09 2016 14:40
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28


****UPDATE****

I made some big changes to the rig that I'd like to submit here. Let me know.


Master Computer (OS + DAW + Synths)


- Intel Xeon E5-2687W V4 3.0Ghz 12-Cores
- ASRock X99 WS-E
- 64GB ECC-Registered DDR4 2133Mhz
- Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD (OS Drive)
- 4x Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD (Synth Library Drive)
- Windows 8.1 Pro (Maybe Windows 10 Pro?)

x6 SLAVEs  Computers

- 2x Intel Xeon E5-2650 V4 2.2Ghz 12-Cores
- Asus Z10PE-D16 WS Dual CPU
- 128GB ECC-Registered DDR4 2133Mhz
- Samsung 850 EVO 120GB SSD (OS Drive)
- x8 Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD (All Strings Libraries)
- Windows 8.1

Note. Not all 6 slaves computer will have the same amount of RAM and SSDs. Only 2 will have 128GB RAM and only 1 will have 8 SSDs. The Strings Computer will be the one with the most RAM and more SSDs because I have more Strings libraries than the rest of the instruments.

I look foreward to your insights, guys.

Cheers

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Thu, Jun 09 2016 19:37
by Synetos
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, USA, Posts 102

I really think it mostly matters based on your workflow, and what problem is trying to be solved.

I do at least 50% live studio recordings (vocals, guitars, etc), so latency has to be low to "play along" with the analog (or midi/VST) tracks already recorded. What you described for your work flow is a totally different approach.

What I dont like to do, because of the way I write and edit, is bounce my Midi/VST to analog tracks and unload the VSTs so I can record live without artifacts. Hence, i need a good amount of realtime CPU power and less concern with 1200 tracks. 

It seems to me that you are not so constrained by "realtime" tracking, but rather the ability to playback all the VST instrument parts together, before you record them to analog. That is a different problem than what i am up against. Your proposed solution seems more appropriate now.

On a different note...I am really happy with Windows 10 Pro. It runs much better than any Windows 8 build I ever had. If you use large monitors (I use a 32" Dell in 4k res) the scaling in Windows 10 works really well. That alone was reason enough to upgrade for me. I have not had any issues with VSL or VE Pro on Windows 10. Everything in my studio runs well on Windows 10.

Also...a really good dedicated network switch is probably something to keep in mind if you dont have one now.

DAW = Cubase Pro 9.5 & WaveLab 9.5
VEP Master = Windows 10 Pro - i7-5960x - 64GB Ram
VEP Slave = Windows 10 Pro - i7-6950x - 128GB Ram
Dell P4317Q & UP3216Q 4K monitors
Audio Interfaces = DigiGrid IOXs
Posted on Thu, Jun 09 2016 19:54
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Okay we are on the same page now! Great insights, thank you.

Yes I do use a bunch of monitors (I'm planning to anyways) The main one is a 40" 4K Phillips and then two 28" 4K Asus. Then I'll have two 25" on the far sides and a big 1080p 55" Dell as Footage screen up above in the center. 6 flippin monitors...Anyways, the 4K are simply for mere real estate since I don't game on this machine.

I kind of understrand why the scaling is better because it's all about DireXt 12, right? That makes sense.
I'll consider Windows 10 Pro heavily now. In Fact the version of Windows 8.1 Pro that I am purchasing has a free update to Windows 10, so worse case scenario I'll update and be done with it.

I need to do more researches on compatibilities with my hardware and my software, but I am pretty positive it won't create any problems. I am not using any fairly old hardware nor software anyways.

Thanks buddy.

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Fri, Jun 10 2016 18:25
by Piano Pete
Joined on Wed, Aug 12 2015, Posts 25

A word of warning: You may wish to shy away from using the onboard  intel network adapters with Cubase 8.5 and Windows 10. My master is an Asus deluxe board and my slave is a x99WS. When I first got my network started I was getting all sorts of pops and fuzz from VEP slave. It was definitely not my horsepower. After much digging with latencymon and the intel forums, I found that it was my onboard network adapters that were freaking out with windows 10! I have managed to get it under control, as it does not affect the export quality, but it is something to be aware of. Unfortunatley I do not have access to chat with any system builders as to what drivers/network ports play well with others, especially on windows 10.

Posted on Mon, Jun 13 2016 12:04
by lorenzogiusti
Joined on Mon, May 23 2016, Posts 28

Thank you so much Piano Pete for your advice.

I actually changed that since I posted this and I am going with the normal ASRock X99 WS-E and then slap a 10G card adapter in there Intel X540 so no shared resources will effect the quality of the sound.

I totally agree.

Thanks

Finale 2014, Cubase 8.5.20
Windows 10 Pro, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 2x480GB SSD RAID 0, 1x 120GB SSD, 1x WD 2TB HDD
Komplete 10 Ultimate, Una COrda, India, AlbionONE, Spirtfire Percussions, CineStrings, CineBrass, Tina Guo Cello
Posted on Wed, Jun 15 2016 21:32
by Synetos
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, USA, Posts 102

Piano Pete: I had the same issue with onboard nic. I downloaded latest driver from the NIC manufacturer (intel), rather than from ASUS support and it solved the issue. (that was a ASUS P9X79 Pro). 

I just built my new i7 6950x 10core (OC at ~3.8ghz) with the Asus X99 Deluxe II board. I did the same thing with the nic driver, even though I had no issues with the Asus provided driver.

I can say this much, I am very happy right now with my new rig. Using my old 3930x as a VEpro Slave with all my VST's. So far, a perfect marriage.

DAW = Cubase Pro 9.5 & WaveLab 9.5
VEP Master = Windows 10 Pro - i7-5960x - 64GB Ram
VEP Slave = Windows 10 Pro - i7-6950x - 128GB Ram
Dell P4317Q & UP3216Q 4K monitors
Audio Interfaces = DigiGrid IOXs
Posted on Fri, Jul 01 2016 16:01
by Acclarion
Joined on Sat, Aug 15 2015, Canada, Eh!, Posts 436

Originally Posted by: lorenzogiusti Go to Quoted Post

So My rig is ALL about mock-up, and for the size of my template (about 1200 tracks, not including the 5.1 and FX tracks) it's all about those 2 more cores and 4 more threads, because large templates are more multi-task demanding than high speed.

Please forgive my ignorance, as I'm reading through threads trying to figure out how to improve my ONE HP laptop i7 computer with 16 gigs of RAM now that I have Mir and Symphonic Cube.  I only compose my own chamber and orchestral music (there are samples on the orchestra forum and you can hear them at http://www.soundcloud.com/carovillano)

I have been able thus far to render my orchestral scores (with 25-30 instrument tracks from the Vienna Symphonic Cube libraries and Mir for reverb) without any processor issues, but the reason I am posting this, is to simply try to understand what on earth a 1200 track template looks like and how it works.  I'm a technology nube, but from a musical point of view, how does one create a work with 1200 tracks?  How does one keep track of those 1200 tracks?  Are you, for instance, creating a violin line and then layering it 50 times with different violin sound libraries?!  I just can't wrap my head around how a person would be able to "hear" 1200 tracks all playing at the same time.  Maybe, I'm completely misunderstanding how film music is produced and would welcome an explanation or link to a "simple" introduction.

Thanks!

Dave

www.soundcloud.com/carovillano (my VSL orchestral/chamber music works)

www.dearvillainmusic.com - music for live performance by David Carovillano

www.acclarion.ca - concert accordion & clarinet duo
Posted on Fri, Nov 18 2016 15:26
by Synetos
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, USA, Posts 102

I was just wondering how this all ended up working out? 

DAW = Cubase Pro 9.5 & WaveLab 9.5
VEP Master = Windows 10 Pro - i7-5960x - 64GB Ram
VEP Slave = Windows 10 Pro - i7-6950x - 128GB Ram
Dell P4317Q & UP3216Q 4K monitors
Audio Interfaces = DigiGrid IOXs
Posted on Tue, Oct 23 2018 16:53
by GrapeBrotherhood
Joined on Tue, Oct 23 2018, Posts 14

I'm interested also to know if, when working mostly with VSTs libraries placed on the slave, is better to invest on a powerful processor to be installed on the slave or on the master?

If I have on my master a 3,33 Intel Xeon Six Core (Mac Pro), and I buy a slave computer with an i7 or i9 and 128Gb of ram to handle VSTs, will it be sufficient to work flowlessly on my master in Cubase with around 80-100 orchestral VST tracks?

I know this has been discussed a lot, but I never seemed to find a straight answer: powerful CPU on master, or slave?

Thanks in advance!  

Posted on Tue, Oct 23 2018 19:45
by Synetos
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, USA, Posts 102

Hopefully, others may chime in, but i'd say it just depends. Probably why you dont get a straight answer. Libraries are different, what you are doing, how big buffers are, etc. Lots of variables  come in to play.

Generally speaking, the DAW machine needs fast realtime processing. VST slaves need lots of cores and ram. 

It also depends on what you are running on the master. Are all the VSTs going to be on the slave? Are you running resource intensive plugins on the DAW master? 

I personally dont do any serious orchestral stuff, so my setup needs may be different than yours.

I have also found dedicated Network cards used to link DAW to Slaves is important. Dont run remote control software over the same NIC as you are running VEP. Little things like that can make a bif difference in stability.

If you are not resource contraint, then get as much CPU power as you can afford. With the cost of RAM being so high these day, make sure you really need 128GB. It may be better to spend the extra $6-700 on CPU.

DAW = Cubase Pro 9.5 & WaveLab 9.5
VEP Master = Windows 10 Pro - i7-5960x - 64GB Ram
VEP Slave = Windows 10 Pro - i7-6950x - 128GB Ram
Dell P4317Q & UP3216Q 4K monitors
Audio Interfaces = DigiGrid IOXs
Posted on Tue, Oct 23 2018 22:31
by GrapeBrotherhood
Joined on Tue, Oct 23 2018, Posts 14

Thanks a lot Synetos, super useful! 

I tend to run just a limiter or mastering tool like Ozone's on the bus....just to glue together the sound in very subtle settings....that might completely change after the composition phase is finished and I go in "mix phase".

Can I ask something else which bugges me? I'm sure this is a stupid noob question but....I was wondering....if I send automation messages from my master to VSTs in the slave through VEP (dynamics, volume, keyswitches, microphone volumes in spitfire libraries) will these automations be correctly recorded in Cubase, just like if VSTs were on the same computer of the DAW? 

Would you give me some advice on a good dedicated Network card? Perhaps one that can link together one master to 2 slaves. I might use an old iMac or a macbook pro as 2nd slave just for a couple of libraries if needed.

Do you think an i9 processor would be overkill? Or Xeons would be better, for any reason? I just started looking at new processors and I'm not very expert, I have still many google searches to do :)
I understand the importance to invest now, to have something that can work well also in 5-7 years. So I'm ready to invest up to 1500-1700€ fora processor. I'm just very confused by the amount of models. Don't even know if for large VSTs templates is more important the number of cores/threads or the frequency.

"Dont run remote control software over the same NIC"...what is a NIC? Sorry, can't get the acronym meaning :P

If I don't run remote control, I'll probably want to use a separate display for the slave, so to control all parameters of VSTs on a separate screen?

The idea to save some money on RAM to invest more in a CPU is a great one, as RAM can be added later. Thank you! 

Sorry for asking so many questions....I just thought to use VEP and 2 computers one week ago!

 

Originally Posted by: Synetos Go to Quoted Post

Hopefully, others may chime in, but i'd say it just depends. Probably why you dont get a straight answer. Libraries are different, what you are doing, how big buffers are, etc. Lots of variables  come in to play.

Generally speaking, the DAW machine needs fast realtime processing. VST slaves need lots of cores and ram. 

It also depends on what you are running on the master. Are all the VSTs going to be on the slave? Are you running resource intensive plugins on the DAW master? 

I personally dont do any serious orchestral stuff, so my setup needs may be different than yours.

I have also found dedicated Network cards used to link DAW to Slaves is important. Dont run remote control software over the same NIC as you are running VEP. Little things like that can make a bif difference in stability.

If you are not resource contraint, then get as much CPU power as you can afford. With the cost of RAM being so high these day, make sure you really need 128GB. It may be better to spend the extra $6-700 on CPU.

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